Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Arrogance Is One Of The Quickest Ways To Get A Pink Slip For A Politician In Canada. "

Bruce Anderson pens, what amounts to the winning narrative for the Liberals, the must read. It's this notion of "arrogance" that flew over the heads of all the knee jerk cynics. Prorogue is process and "complicated", but acting with apparent impunity, like an unaccountable king, that's what has people stirred. It comes as no surprise that I think Anderson has it right, I've argued since the outset that Liberals should repeat the word "arrogance", to the point of nausea. Ignatieff's strategists should write the following on a tablet:
For opposition leaders (and other concerned Canadians), the surest way to make this issue stick is to hammer away that this decision is born of a profound arrogance, and chronicle how it fits a troubling pattern. This would create the potential to destabilize partisan lines, and bring into play the one in three Conservative supporters who already feel awkward trying to defend this action to their friends and neighbours.

The pattern is there, it's come into play, from time to time, since Harper took office. With this latest, profound example, you can connect the dots and create a powerful criticism- particularly when it completely undermines the steed that these people rode in on. A narrative of arrogance is where this issue erodes the government's standing. Everything to date, their spin, is predicated on being the Tim Horton's party, in touch with average Canadians. Once you establish the ivory tower, you show complete detachment, things can change in rapid fashion.

ARROGANCE is the single most dangerous word within our political dialogue. I made the point, December 14th, that this prorogue decision could prove to be Harper's biggest mistake, because it "reeks our arrogance". A bit to cozy, fearing no backlash, the Conservatives acted, completely dismissing. I remember people like Flanagan, smirk displayed, actually arguing there was no downside, a "win/win", no matter how you viewed it. It was this mindset, that failed to see what were always obvious pitfalls.

Canadians don't like arrogance, never have, never will. They're called public "servants" for a reason. Whether this label finally "sticks", will largely be a question of how effectively the case is made. I'd start with repetition, even installing a remote electrical device, that provides a minor shock to any MP or advocate that fails to mention the word during an interview or appearance. Shutting down Parliament, arrogance. Defying Parliament on torture, a question of arrogance. Appointing hacks to the Senate, an example of arrogance. Thwarting Kevin Page, arrogance. Not consulting with the opposition on the budget, despite a minority, blatant arrogance. Whatever the issue, the word appears. The Conservatives have become masters of messaging that "stamps" the target through repetition. Let's get in the game, because we have the downfall "elixir" at our disposal.

UPDATE:

I see Mark agrees.

6 comments:

Volkov said...

So very true. Its worthwhile to note that the careers of politicians are ended on their perceived arrogance or not. Just look to the examples of Joe Clark, Louis St. Laurent, Don Getty - all ended up losing because of perceived arrogance on their part.

rockfish said...

Bang on. Here's hoping the meme catches on -- and that the slick Harper bag-of-tricks has ran out of dirty buyable lies.

penlan said...

Having seen a few interviews with Libs recently they are leaving out the word arrogance - even though it screams to be said. Harper et al had no problem using the word to smear Ignatieff.
Get on the ball ALL opposition MP's & use it repeatedly!

Tof KW said...

Volkov, not so certain about putting Joe Clark on that list of arrogance. True his downfall was from attempting to run his minority as if it was a majority, but I don't think you can label a government that didn't even make it past 9 months as arrogant. Brash, yes. Tactless, sure. Naive and imprudent, you bet. But Clark did not sit long enough in the PM's chair to be called arrogant. Plus Clark is a true democrat, which is why he was so quickly pushed out of the leadership by Mulroney. Now if he’d ‘bend the rules’ like those who truly are arrogant, he might have held on to government longer or even obtained a majority government in the future; but then he would not be held in the high regard he now enjoys.

Now the Harris/Eves regime ...that's the dictionary definition of arrogance. And many of the people responsible for that train wreck are now working for Harper. I see they didn't learn their lesson, oh well at least they're consistent.

Back to the topic at hand, I agree with everyone here that the grits should be yelling ‘arrogance’ at the tops of their lungs for the next 6 months. Keep saying it until it becomes nauseating. The Libs have been being ‘defined’ by the Reformers for too long now, and it’s high time they give them a taste of their own medicine.

Brammer said...

“Well, I haven’t seen the commercials,” Mr. Flaherty said. “I don’t watch a lot of television actually. "

"You know, prorogation does not affect the consultations for the budget that we’ll present on March 4th.”

Well, at least he and Harper agree on one thing! (h/t G&M)

Steve V said...

There goes that talking point.